BOSTON – After much deliberation throughout an extensive pre-draft process, the Celtics selected Cal forward Jaylen Brown Thursday night with the third pick in the 2016 NBA Draft
Brown will remind Celtics fans of Jae Crowder because of his thick, muscular frame, and that manifests into elite defensive potential. Brown is strong enough to defend larger forwards and quick enough to contain quicker guards. The Celtics heavily value versatility and Brown brings it in spades.
On the offensive end, Brown must make strides before contributing beyond the level of a role player. He averaged 14.6 points per game on an inefficient 47.1 eFG%, with a 29.4 3PT%. This is concerning, since the Celtics are starving for shooting (they rank 29th in 3PT% over the last three seasons).
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But the Celtics aren’t drafting him to be a flamethrower from outside. It’s everything else he potentially does that makes him appealing.
He’s a tremendous athlete who can throw down powerful dunks with both hands at the rim. He’s a bulldozer when attacking closeouts, another area where fans will be reminded of Crowder. But he’s also shifty, able to create space off the dribble to manufacture offense when his team needs it.
The key for Brown will be to develop his jumper so he converts those chances he creates for himself. If he eventually does, there’s a real chance he becomes the best player from this draft class because of his combination of athleticism, defensive versatility, and offensive potential.
Kevin O’Connor can be followed on Twitter: @KevinOConnorNBA